Butterworth, John



Sergeant John Butterworth – C 4082 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)

On October 17, 1939 John Butterworth completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Active Service Force (CASF) at Picton, Ontario. He was 26 years and 5 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. John Butterworth was born in Cheshire, Staleybridge, England and gave his birth-date as May 16, 1913. He lists Hastings, Ontario as his present address. John indicated that he had previous Military experience since 1935, with the Northumberland & Durham Regiment. John’s File indicates that he completed Grade 10 as well as two years Commercial at night school in England. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Diesel Operator and Truck Driver. John was 5′ 10” tall, weighed 140 pounds and had blue eyes. His medical examination took place in Picton. He had no medical issues or physical limitations and as such he was deemed fit (Category A), for Overseas duty with the CASF. His next-of-kin was listed as his Aunt, Mrs. Eliza Bamfort of Cheadle Heath, Stockport, England. John signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation on October 17, 1939 in Picton. The Certificate of Magistrate was signed by the Justice in Picton on October 17, 1939. John Butterworth was taken-on-strength as a Private (Pte) with the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment, (H&PER) CASF and was assigned Service Number C 4082.

When asked why he enlisted with the H&PER, he responded; ”couldn’t wait long enough to join the RCAF as a Pilot”.

The H&PER was mobilized to active service on September 1, 1939. It was re-designated the 1st Battalion (Bn), Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment CASF on November 7, 1940. Pte Butterworth’s File indicates that he was struck-off-strength from the CASF (Canada) on embarking from Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 19, 1939. There is no indication of the name of the ship in the File. On December 20, 1939 he was taken-on-strength with the CASF (Overseas). Supplementary research indicates the ship was the SS Ormonde.


Due to the date of the crossing (Winter), the ocean was quite rough and most of the men were seasick all the way over.

Research indicates the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment was also referred to as the ”Hasty P’s”, ”The Regiment”, and ”the Plough Jockeys”; a reference to their rural Ontario roots. Pte Butterworth and the Hasty P’s disembarked in Glasgow, Scotland on January 1, 1940. January 5, 1940, he was granted a 5- day Leave. April 9, 1940 Pte Butterworth was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal (A/L/Cpl). May 28, 1940 A/L/Cpl Butterworth was granted Leave (unspecified).

On June 13, 1940 the H&PER embarked from Plymouth, England and disembarked in Brest, France on June 14, 1940. Research indicates the ship that carried the Regiment to France was the Ville d’Angier (no picture found).

The Hasty P’s, as part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, landed at Brest, France as part of Operation Ariel. This was a plan to create a 2nd British Expeditionary Force in France and support the retreating French Army. The Hasty P’s advanced inland, by train, to Laval, France before being ordered to withdraw. What was not known, at the time of the landing, was that Paris, France had fallen to the Germans and that France had surrendered.

June 16, 1940 the H&PER, embarked from Brest, France and disembarked in Plymouth, England on June 17, 1940. They were transported back to England aboard the Canterberry Belle (no picture found).

On July 24, 1940 A/L/Cpl Butterworth was admitted to the 5th Canadian Field Ambulance (CFA), on the same day he was transferred to the 15th General Hospital (GH). He was struck-off-strength from the H&PER to the No 1 Canadian Infantry Holding Unit (CIHU) on admittance to the Hospital. August 3, 1940 he was discharged from the 15th GH. August 14, 1940 he was struck-off-strength from the No 1 CIHU on transfer to the H&PER. On August 15, 1940 A/L/Cpl was taken-on-strength with the H&PER. October 10, 1940 he was granted a 7-day Leave.

February 3, 1941 A/L/Cpl is to be an Acting Corporal (A/Cpl) with pay. February 14, 1941 A/Cpl Butterworth was granted 7 days Leave to February 20, 1941. May 3, 1941 A/Cpl Butterworth was confirmed as a Corporal (Cpl). July 18, 1941 he was granted 7 days Leave to July 24, 1941.

January 15, 1942 Cpl Butterworth was granted permission to marry. On March 21, 1942 he married Miss Edith Margaret Baughan of Catford, London, England. May 1, 1942 Cpl Butterworth was promoted to Acting Sergeant (A/Sgt). This was later amended to May 26, 1942. July 24, 1942 A/Sgt Butterworth was granted Leave to July 31, 1942. On August 2, 1942 A/Sgt Butterworth was confirmed in the rank of Sergeant (Sgt). On October 3, 1942 he was granted another 7-day period of Leave to October 10, 1942.

While in England, between February 1940 and November 1942, Sgt Butterworth participated in a number of Courses: Rangetaker’s Course, 3” Mortar Course, 3 NCO Courses: Rifleman Course; Bren Gun Course; and Anti-aircraft Course, and Anti-aircraft Cartwheel Sight and Aircraft Identification Course.

January 13, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was granted 7 days Leave to January 19, 1943. February 3, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was struck-off-strength from the H&PER to the 5th Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (CIRU). February 4, 1943 he was taken-on-strength with the 5th CIRU from the H&PER. On March 14, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was on a Canadian Military Headquarter Course (CMHQ) attached for all purposes (fap) to the Combat Training School (CTS). He returned to the 5th CIRU from the CMHQ CTS on April 3, 1943. On April 7, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was granted a 9 day Leave to April 16, 1943. May 12, 1943 he is shown as being struck-off-strength from the 5th CIRU to the 1st Canadian Special Base Depot (CSBD). On May 16, 1943 the 1st CSBD was changed to the 1st Canadian Base Reinforcement Battalion (1st CBRB).

On May 13, 1943 Sgt Butterworth is taken-on-strength with the H&PER X-4 List (BD) from the 5th CIRU. The X-4 List contained a listing of unposted reinforcements in the theatre of War belonging to the Unit or Corps.

June 29, 1943 when Sgt Butterworth and the H&PER embarked at Greenoch, Scotland aboard two different ships. ”A” Company along with the 48th Highlanders of Canada were on the HMT Derbyshire, and ”B”, “C”, & “D” Companies were on the Glengyle.; he is shown as struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army (UK) and on June 30, 1943 taken-on-strength Canadian Army (Mediterranean). On July 10, 1943 he disembarked, near Pachino, Sicily (close to the southern tip of the Island) as part of the Allied Invasion of Italy with the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade (CIB). On this day, he changed his next-of-kin to his wife Mrs. Edith M. Butterworth of Catford, London, England.


August 6, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was posted to 4th Canadian Infantry Battalion (CIB) from the Canadian Army (Mediterranean). August 10, 1943 he was struck-off-strength from the 4th Bn to War Establishment (WE). On August 11, 1943 he was taken-on-strength from the 4th Bn to the WE.

After fighting their way through Sicily for 2 months, Sgt Butterworth and the 1st CIB landed in Italy, at Reggio di Calabria on September 3, 1943. September 17, 1943 he was admitted to No 4 Canadian Field Ambulance (CFA) as being ”sick” and was struck-off-strength from the WE to H&PER X-3* List on admittance to Hospital [No1 Canadian Medical Rest Station (1 CMRS)]. On September 18, 1943 he is shown as admitted to the No 5 CFA and on the same day admitted to No 7 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS). On September 23, 1943 he is shown as admitted to No 3 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS). On September 25, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was discharged from No 3 CCS.

*The X-3 List was used for personnel removed from combat due to medical issues. His File, other than indicating he was ”sick”, provides no indication of the issue. The date of September 17, 1943 indicates that he was in the southern part of Italy, near the Village of Melfi and part of the push to take Italy.

Research indicates by this time the ranks of the Regiment were being ravaged by ”Jaundice, Malaria, and Dysentery”. In the case of Sgt Butterworth, he was hospitalized as a result of an incident involving a vehicle, which resulted in a wound to one of his legs. October 13, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was discharged from the 1 CMRS. October 14, 1943 he was taken-on-strength from H&PER X-4** List, 4th Bn. December 20, 1943 he is struck-off-strength from the H&PER X-3 List to the No 21 Canadian Convalescent Wing. December 21, 1943 Sgt Butterworth was taken-on-strength to the 2nd Division, 1 CCD from 1 CMRS. May 3, 1944 he was struck-off-strength from the X-3 List to 2nd Division, 1 CCD.

**The X-4 List – a list of unposted reinforcements in the Theatre of War belonging to the Unit or Corps.

On January 6, 1944 Sgt Butterworth was struck-off-strength to the 2nd Canadian Division, No 2 Canadian Convalescent Depot (CCD). January 7, 1944 taken-on-strength from No 21 Convalescent Wing. On January 10, 1944 Sgt Butterworth was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. February 12, 1944 he was struck-off-strength to the X-3 List H&PER. On this day, he was admitted to the No 1 Canadian General Hospital (CGH). February 22, 1944 he was discharged from the No 1 CGH and was admitted to the No 14 CGH. He was discharged from the 14th CGH on March 31, 1944. May 4, 1944 he was taken-on-strength from the X-3 List H&PER. May 21, 1944 struck-off-strength to 2nd Canadian Division, No 1 CCD. Sgt Butterworth was awarded the 1939 – 43 Star.

Farley Mowat in his book ”The Regiment” states: ”Bravery, military knowledge, and expert marksmanship; these things have their place in the making of a soldier, but they are nothing if the man cannot endure the endurable. The men of the Regiment were soldiers. They endured”.

The Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment was in the thick of the action through Sicily and the push up Italy, during this time it amassed a significant number of Battle Honours.

On March 14, 1945 Sgt Butterworth and the Hasty P’s embarked from Italy and disembarked in Marseilles, France on March 17, 1945 where he is shown with B Division, No 1 Convalescent Depot (CD).

June 3, 1945 he was struck-off-strength from the 1st Canadian Infantry Corps (CIC) to the No 30 CD, Military District (MD) 3; Eastern Ontario (Kingston). June 4, 1945 he was taken-on-strength with the 30 CD, MD 3. Research failed to identify this abbreviation. On the same day he was struck-off-strength Canadian Army NWE (North West Europe). On June 5, 1945 he was taken-on-strength with the Canadian Army UK. There are no indications in the File as to when Sgt Butterworth embarked from England, or on which ship, or when he disembarked in Canada. June 23, 1945 he is shown as struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army Overseas CAO. June 24, 1945 he was taken-on-strength from 30 B Division, British Army Overseas (BA O/S. He is now shown at No 3 District Depot (DD) in Kingston, Ontario. July 18, 1945 he was struck-off-strength to the X-9** List CIC (Canadian Infantry Corps). July 19, 1954 was taken-on-strength X-9 List from No 3 DD in Kingston, Ontario. **The X-9 List is a listing of all personnel held at Base Reinforcement Units who, for one reason or another are not available as reinforcements and whose disposition is still to be decided.

When and where Sergeant Butterworth embarked from England and on which ship is not identified in the File, not did supplementary research come up with the information. .

August 7, 1945 a Major E.A. MacDonald – Army Counsellor held an exit interview with Sgt John Butterworth, it indicates in part: “Sgt Butterworth was a fully trained Infantryman, with 70 months service: 66 months overseas (U.K., Sicily, Italy, France); 12 months orderly room clerk; 12 months Physiotherapy training and 6 months teaching Italian for the Canadian Legion”.

August 8, 1945 Sgt Butterworth was struck-off-strength from the X-9 List CIC, No 3 DD on discharge, due to demobilization, to return to civilian life.
Sergeant John Butterworth’s Military File indicates that he was eligible to receive the following Medals:

1939 – 45 Star;
Italy Star;
France & Germany Star;
Defence Medal;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also qualified for the War Service Badge, Class A.
According to Sgt Butterworth’s Military File he served a total of 5 years, 9 months, and 22 days with the Canadian Active Service Force; the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment: 3 months and 16 days in Canada; 3 years, 7 months, and 8 days in the UK; 1 year, 8 months and 4 days in Italy; 2 months days in France and about 1 month and 9 days travel time.

An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:

”The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable”.


John “Jack” Butterworth was born in Stalybridge, County Cheshire, England on May 16, 1913. He was the son of Samuel Butterworth and Elizabeth Guthrie. Due to the death of both his parents, John was orphaned by age 9. He attended the Bluecoat School and after graduation came to Canada and worked as a farm labourer with a family in Hastings. In 1939, he joined the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment. On March 21, 1942, John married Edith “Margaret” Baughan in Lewisham, London, England. After the war, they came to Canada and settled in the Peterborough area and had one son, David. John died of cancer on February 9, 1956 and Margaret died of injuries from a car accident on September 29, 1962; both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.


John’s paternal grandparents were Samuel and Mary Butterworth living in Stalybridge. Samuel was a piecer carrier in a cotton mill. They had a family of six children – Harry (1878), James (1882), Samuel (1884), Ann (1886), Sarah (1888) and Edwin Butterworth born in 1895.

John’s parents were Samuel Butterworth born in 1884 in Stalybridge, County Cheshire, England and Elizabeth Guthrie born about 1868. In 1911 they were living in Stalybridge and Samuel was working as a labourer and Elizabeth was a weaver. During WW I Samuel was a Sergeant with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was killed in action in 1916 and is remembered with honour in Lillers Communal Cemetery. Elizabeth died in February 1922.

We would like to thank John Butterworth’s son, David, for the following most interesting detailed personal history of his family.

Personal Profile of John Butterworth
WW II Canadian Army Veteran

John Butterworth, the son of Samuel Butterworth and Elizabeth Guthrie, was born May 16, 1913 in Stalybridge, County Cheshire, England, located near the large city of Manchester. He had no middle name, but as was common in those times was called both John and Jack.

His father, Samuel, was killed in Lillers, France in August of 1916 while serving in WW I as a Sergeant with the Loyal North Lancaster regiment of the British Army. His Regimental number was 7691. David Butterworth, son of John, and grandson of Samuel, provided this information and is the proud possessor of his grandfather’s War medals.

David’s research of War Records indicates that grandfather Samuel was in charge of several new recruits in a Front-Line trench during WW I. While engaged in battle, one of the recruits pulled the pin on a hand grenade, then froze, and dropped it. Samuel fell on the grenade to smother it. While his meritorious action saved others, Samuel suffered horrendous injuries and died three days later in No 9 Casualty Clearing Station.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, died in February of 1922, leaving him an orphan in his ninth year of age. He was accepted as a live-in Bluecoat School student, located at Stalybridge. The main purpose of these schools was to house and educate the orphan children of Veterans. John was provided an excellent and varied education, gaining considerable advanced academic knowledge including music and the classics. When John had completed his Blueschool education, he was in his early teens.

About the year 1925, or 26, at twelve or thirteen years of age he and four other schoolmates came to Canada. Arriving in the area of Hastings, Ontario, each lived and worked on different farms.

John was extremely fortunate to be with the David Walsh family, who lived just west of the village of Hastings. They treated John as one of their family, and they maintained a lifetime mutual closeness, certainly that of strong friendship, if not love. John’s son, David, tells that the Walsh family was Catholic, while John was Anglican. The Walsh’s would drive John into the Anglican Church in Hastings, drop him off, then go to their own Catholic church, and pick him up after the service. John was even allowed to mix farm work with school and he attended High School in Hastings where he completed his grade 12. When David, John’s son, was a youth, he used to visit with the Walshs during summer holidays, and called them Grandma and Grandpa.

In the mid to late 1930’s, when the effects of the depression caused overall financial distress, all five of the Blueschool boys, including John, went to work in the lumber camps in the North Bay area of Northern Ontario. There was plenty of work but the boys’ inexperience in lumbering was quite evident. First they felled the trees in the wrong direction, making it difficult, and laborious to drag them out of the bush. As a result they were all fired – but then a Hastings resident, exerting his considerable political influence, had them all rehired. John was then assigned a job as a truck driver, until the company truck went through the ice of a lake. Then, as he used to joke, he was promoted to cook. After logging, John went into North Bay where he worked as a Doctor’s helper.

Then WW II broke out and all the Hastings area Blueschool boys, who had always kept in touch, together went down to Picton, and joined the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment, affectionately known as the Hasty P’s.

John Butterworth volunteered to join the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of the Canadian Army in Picton, Ontario on October 17, 1939, when 26 years of age. This early enlistment, being only five weeks, two days after Canada’s September 10, 1939 declaration of War on Germany, portrayed John’s patriotic willingness to serve. Indeed it was but a continuation of his military connection in that he had previously been a member of the Canadian Militia in 1935 with the Northumberland and Durham Regiment based in the Cobourg Armouries. John, who was red haired, was quite often called Jack, as was customary in those times, and he was known as Jack to all his Army buddies.

After basic training in Canada the Regiment he was shipped to England in December of 1939. During this time he was in contact and visited with many family relatives who he had not seen since his immigrating to Canada fifteen years previously.

When on leave in London, attending a dance, he met a young lady, Margaret (Edith) Baughan. Margaret, born September 23, 1920, was a secretary in the world wide insurance company “Lloyd’s of London”. They were married on March 21, 1942. They became the proud parents of a son, David, born in England in 1943. David was their only child.

After returning to Canada with his Regiment when WW II ended, he was discharged to civilian life on August 08, 1945. He had been in the service for five years, nine months.

Upon discharge, John came to Peterborough, as there were several members of his Regiment in the area. He rented a home on Edinburgh Street where he worked in the Martin Hewitt factory. His wife and son, David, arrived in Canada nine months later, June 1946, aboard The Queen Mary, docking at the now famous Pier 21 in Halifax, then coming on by train to Peterborough.

John bought some eight acres of land from Les Knox, located next door, and just north of The Peterborough County House of Refuge. It was known then as the “back road to Young’s Point”. They lived in part of the Knox farmhouse until John built a house on the newly purchased land.

John left factory work, and went into the egg business. He bought 100 baby chickens from Harry Sherin of Lakefield, who had a chick hatchery, then built the hen house to hold them. When they started laying, he sold the eggs in Peterborough. Son David recalls that their first stop each Saturday was at a grocery store to determine that week’s price of eggs and Dad would then sell them for three cents less per dozen.

** three cents does not seem like much of a discount but at that time eggs sold for about eighteen cents a dozen hence Jack’s price was about 17% cheaper. Also families consumed a lot of eggs, a staple of most working family’s diet, as they were unaware of any alleged ensuing cholesterol problems.

Living next door, John became friendly with Mr. Howden, the administrator of the County House of Refuge. John was offered and accepted the job of superintendent of the home where the Butterworths then lived for three years from 1950 to 1952. Margaret and John were responsible for the preparation, cooking, serving, cleaning, washing and the operation of the garden and farm, as well as basic care for all the residents, many of whom were seniors as well as having varied degrees of disability. There were usually about 25 residents. Each resident had to prove that they were destitute, and also each had some required duties to perform at the Home in the house, garden, or barn.

In 1953 John went back into the egg business, and the family moved next door, back to the house which he had built. For at least three years John’s eggs won first prize at the Lakefield Fair. On December 26, 1955, the day after Christmas, John became ill, and he passed away as result of a brain tumour about six weeks later on February 9, 1956.

Son David states: “This was a very difficult time for Mother and me. I was 12 years old, Mother was 35. We lived in the country and Mother never drove a car. However the neighbours and friends were of immense help, as were Dad’s old Army buddies, particularly Jack Kelly of Lakefield. Harold and Rosa Dunford were very close and helpful as was the Lakefield Legion. Each year, with the onset of cold weather, a load of firewood would be gratuitously delivered to our home. Mother worked at the County home for a while and then at Lakefield College School (The Grove) as secretary to Albert Branscombe, the administrator and then for G. Winder Smith, the headmaster of the school.” David continues: “Things were getting pretty good. I had just graduated from high school and Mother and I were elated when I began an electrical apprenticeship at General Motors in Oshawa. However, only just a few weeks after my beginning my first job, Mother was driving northbound, home from Peterborough when a reckless southbound oncoming driver passed several other vehicles and struck my Mother’s vehicle head on. Mother was badly injured, hospitalized, and died within a week. I was an orphan at age 18, and not considered an adult by law. Our loyal and wonderful family friend, Rosa Dunford, became my legal guardian.”

Such is the story of Canadian War Veteran and Lakefield area citizen John Butterworth. He and Margaret, his English war bride, loved Canada. All three, John, Margaret and son David, would have been legally entitled to either stay in England or return to their birth roots, at any time. They contributed to our Lakefield community in many ways and their spirit and struggle of survival is an example to all. Son David, now retired, had a very successful career as an employee of General Motors and at age 73, continues to contribute to our community.

Lakefield – October 2016